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NEWS

Short Update: Concerns over changes to pre-trial detentions rules in France

FairTrialsAdmin - April 3, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Extended pre-trial detention, Remote Justice

In France, a government ruling dated 25th March 2020 (Ordonnance 2020-303), as interpreted by written instructions published by the Minister of Justice (Circulaire CRIM-2020-12/H2.26.03.2020) effectively prolongs all pre-trial detentions. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, detentions are thus prolonged by 2, 3 or up to 6 months, without any trial.  

The ruling also provides for a number of other derogations and changes in relation to pre-trial detention, notably:  

•It extends deadlines for judges to rule on applications for release in the context of pre-trial detention: first instance judges now have 6 working days (instead of 3), and courts of appeal have 1 month (instead of 15 days) to render their decision;  

•First instance judges can now prolong pre-trial detentions without seeing detainees, and without an oral debate taking place, on the basis of written applications submitted by all parties.  

French Lawyers have expressed concerns over such changes to pre-trial detention rules. One should indeed remember that pre-trial detention affects suspects who have not yet faced trial and are thus presumed innocent. 

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected]  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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